I never understood how startlingly stunning a bald could be until I reached Max Patch.  I guess there's a reason for the saying "bald is beautiful," and it has nothing to do with a genetic lack of hair growth. Instead it's a lack of tree growth. This area was cleared for grazing in the 19th century and has remained bald ever since.

I haven't seen anything like it in my life. It was a brutal climb to end the day.  There was an obvious disconnect between mind and body as I actively reminded my legs to take the final few steps.  When I reached the top, I was instantly rejuvenated. A vast expanse of rolling green hills stretched out in front of me.  Mountains rose in the distance in every direction.  Pockets of tents were pitched in areas protected by taller portions of the bald.

I watched the sun set while a full moon rose with a view of the smoky mountains behind me and my future climbs before me. Even after the sun had set, the moon illuminated the entire bald, casting shadows with its light. It was a perfect evening that ended with star gazing and jokes at the expense of some unruly muggles. 
                        

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